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Sunday 25th November 2012

Well here it is then. The first decade of Warming Up. I can't believe I've done this. Half dogged persistence, half madness and half poor mathematical skills. How much time has it taken? How many words? How many laughs? It's got to be about 3000 man hours and probably a couple of million words and I think I've probably got one laugh every fifteen minutes of writing time. 12,000 chortles in total, 1200 mild smiles a year. You're welcome.
It's been frustrating at times and even though my life has its moments there have been days where I have had to wrack my brain for several hours before finding anything worth writing about. Many days the result has been to discover that even that thing was not worth the effort. It has not worked as a warming up exercise. As often as not writing the blog has been the only work I've done or has used up valuable writing energy and had a negative impact on the work I am supposed to be doing.
But it's become its own thing and valuable in its own right. There's been a surprisingly high hit rate. By forcing myself to do this I have come up with ideas, jokes, routines and newspaper articles that would never have existed had I not made the odd decision to do this or if I was not obsessive enough to keep the chain going. It's mainly been cathartic and enjoyable. It's made me a better writer. It's indirectly led to me returning to stand up comedy. It's been the basis of many of my Edinburgh shows and a valuable resource for my book. I've made friends because of this blog and probably a few enemies. And yet still it's mainly a secret shared by a few of us. I have been shouting into the void for ten years, trying to mark my days to give my life an artificial air of significance, but we're all doing that I suppose. Ultimately this handprint of the wall of my cave is transitory and pointless, but that's also true of the achievements of the most glittering and successful life. If we have had some fun or an occasional laugh along the way that's all we can hope for. In the grand scheme of things a single laugh means nothing, it echoes and dies, but for the moment it exists there is little more wonderful. It's not about posterity. Though as you'll know this blog is now preserved in the British Library and thus will be enjoyed by academics and historians for years to come. I suspect it might even become a new Bible by which the citizens of the future judge their morality. Will those space people live up to the fine example I have shown them? Probably not. But they can try. I am not saying I'm Jshua, that is for other people to say.
Whilst you will all die and rot in a hole, forgotten, I will live on through the ages in digital form, my consciousness somehow surviving amongst my words. But in spite of all that, the laughs that explode and die like a breath on a frosty morning are what make this worthwhile.
Rather neatly I fell in love with my wife almost exactly five years ago (I met her for the second time on the 23rd November 2007 and that was when she truly captured my heart and befuddled my brain). It's a testament to how happy she has made me that the second half of this blog feels like it's lasted about a tenth of the time of the first half. Thank you for helping to murder the fool I used to be and making me the fool I am now. You've shared a ninth of my life, but I hope you'll end up sharing half of it (with a bit of luck and medicine we could aim for two thirds).
Look, no one is going to mark this occasion apart from us. Even Norris Mcwhirter has stayed suspiciously quiet about what I think is at least a UK record. BUT I think there are around 3000 of you out there, but it might be more and it might be less. If you think all this brain spew has been worth something to you then it might be a nice gesture to make a donation to SCOPE. I know many of you have done this down the years, but if everyone who read this sponsored me £10, just a pound a year - that's a pound for every 1200 laughs or - not even 0.01 pence a giggle, about a quarter of a pence and entry- then we could raise £30,000. Obviously that won't happen, but it would be nice to maybe raise £1000 for SCOPE, to acknowledge what an extraordinary and stupid thing this has been. It would at least help me to pretend that this ridiculous exercise in procrastination has been worthwhile and might encourage me to see this as a dot dot dot rather than a full stop.
If you'd like to help me celebrate and give SCOPE a deserved Christmas bonus please donate whatever you think is appropriate (I'd say £10 feels right for ten years) at www.justgiving.com/talkingcock. Even if you all gave the minimum of £2 we'd be looking at an amazing sum. The programme fund is currently £15,289. Do you reckon we could get it to over £20,000 by Christmas?
Screw those part-timers who just run a marathon for a few hours, or even do 10 in 10 days. This has been a ten year commitment. That's gotta be worth three minutes of your time and a couple of quid?
But even if it isn't, then thanks for reading. This monument to self-indulgence has been very helpful and useful to me personally, but it's made it slightly less tragic because of your interest and your interaction. I honestly don't know if I should be proud or ashamed, but I feel both emotions (and they've been contradictory bedfellows at many of the most remarkable moments of my life so that's probably a good sign). It's the dichotomies that make it interesting (and boring) I suppose. I am thinking of what I have lost and what I have gained. I am weaker, but I am stronger. It's a success and it's a failure. I'd like to be 35 again, but it's also cool to know that I made it to 45. I may have wanted different things from this life and this blog in 2002, but I wouldn't swap them for what I now have.
At the end of it all it's just rather sweet for me personally to have this unbroken record of instances and thoughts from my life. Looking back for the Warming Up books that I've started putting out (volume 2 should be available before Christmas) I already feel sympathy and pity for the idiotic me of 2002/3, but I am glad he chose to record some tiny parts of his life and they remind me of the parts that he didn't write. The blog doesn't tell the whole story by any means and it largely ignores the personal triumphs and disasters that have befallen me (although I am trying to add a taste of those to the book versions), but I'd recommend it to you all as an exercise. You don't have to put it up on the internet like some kind of egotistical maniac, but you'll enjoy looking back on it I think.
I failed in my 2010 aim to get a TV series in production by today, but I have a meeting about Ra-Ra Rasputin on Tuesday. Do let me know how you got on with your 2010 if you had one. Even if you're a failure like me. There's still time to succeed. Only losers actually hit their deadlines. Cool people like you and me miss them entirely, or realise that the thing they'd set their heart on was not worth the winning.
This is an arbitrary milestone of course and doesn't mean anything. When I've done 100 years then surely it'll get a mention in the paper (you know that newspaper that will still be being printed in 2102). Let's press on and see how far this thing will go on for before it snaps.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for laughing. We're ten years closer to our inevitable deaths. And if that isn't a cause for celebration what is?

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My new stand up show, Lord of the Dance Settee will be on at the George Sq Theatre at 10.45pm every night of the Edinburgh Fringe Buy tickets here.
My new play, I Killed Rasputin will on at the George Square Theatre at 3.35pm every day of the Edinburgh Fringe. Buy tickets here
Buy a season pass to Meaning of Life, or make a donation for a badge, either one off or monthly at gofasterstripe.com/rhmol
You can watch most of the RHMOL shows for free on my vimeo channel
You can get video downloads of Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast from Go Faster Stripe
You can still download the audio for free from the British Comedy Guide or iTunes
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Also on your kindle (or any smart phone or tablet with the kindle app) catch up on the early years of Warming Up (with extra retrospective additions) with Bye Bye Balham and The Box Lady and Other Pesticles (only £3.53 each)